LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to dissect a hug, but from all accounts, the hugs Ernie Kent gave to his players following Cal’s 90-74 win over his Oregon Ducks were more “thanks for the memories” than “see you soon.”
Kent reportedly told his players before the Pac-10 tournament that he would not return next season after 13 seasons as coach at Oregon following the Ducks’ 16-16 season.
After the game, however, Kent, who is 24-39 in his last two seasons at Oregon, refused to comment on his future.
“I will talk about the game and I’ll talk about these two outstanding young men up here, but this is not the place for me to talk about anything else right now,” Kent said. “I’m hoping we’re playing somewhere quite frankly.”
Kent was joined at the postgame press conference by LeKendric Longmire and Tajuan Porter and while Kent was unwilling to talk about the rumors, or “noise” surrounding his future, Longmire had no trouble addressing it.
“As player we try to not to focus on it but personally it sticks with me everywhere I go,” he said. “Coach is a great guy and coming here he’s changed my life tremendously not only as a basketball player but as a young man. I can’t help but respect him for everything he’s done for me and for giving me the opportunity to be here and play on this level. We love coach and we want him and we need him here. We feel like he’s the one who can take us to where we need to be. He’s proven that he can do it so that’s where we are."